Jerusalem artichoke Facts

Jerusalem artichoke Facts
Jerusalem artichoke is a type of root vegetables that belongs to the aster family. It originates from central parts of North America. Jerusalem artichoke was introduced to Europe at the beginning of the 17th century. There are more than 200 varieties of Jerusalem artichoke that can be found in temperate areas around the world today. People cultivate Jerusalem artichoke mostly as a source of food (it is especially popular and often consumed in Europe).
Interesting Jerusalem artichoke Facts:
Jerusalem artichoke produces erect, hairy stem that can reach 5 to 15 feet in height.
Jerusalem artichoke has elongated, ovate leaves with smooth edges and pointed tips. Leaves are oppositely arranged on the stem on the upper part of the plant and alternately arranged close to the ground. Leaves are green and have hairy texture.
Jerusalem artichoke has knobby tuber that looks like ginger root. Tuber can be 3 to 4 inches long and 1 to 3 inches wide. It has white flesh and light brown skin tinged with red, yellow or purple on the surface.
Jerusalem artichoke produces numerous golden yellow-flower heads that look like miniature version of sunflower. Flower heads develop at the end of the branches. Each flower head consists of 10 to 20 ray florets.
Fruit of Jerusalem artichoke is small, dark-colored, wedge-shaped seed.
Edible part of Jerusalem artichoke is tuber. It is rich source of dietary fibers, vitamins A, C and E and minerals such as potassium, iron and copper.
Jerusalem artichoke contains inulin, type of carbohydrate that human body cannot utilize as energy. Consumption of this plant creates feeling of satiety without increasing blood sugar level (body does not absorb this type of sugar).
Jerusalem artichoke can be consumed raw or cooked. It can be boiled, fried, microwaved, steamed or baked. Thanks to its warm, nutty, slightly sweet taste, it can be used as a substitute for potato (Jerusalem artichoke can be consumed in the form of chips or it can be mashed, just like potato).
Jerusalem artichoke can be turned into flour. This type of flour is especially popular among people diagnosed with celiac disease (people that do not tolerate wheat).
Tuber, stalks and leaves of Jerusalem artichoke can be used as animal fodder.
Jerusalem artichoke is used as a source of fructose and ethanol (that can be used as biofuel).
Jerusalem artichoke is also used in the industry of alcoholic beverages for the manufacture of certain types of brandy.
Jerusalem artichoke is not true artichoke (true artichoke is actually immature flower bud), and it does not originate from Jerusalem. Name "Jerusalem artichoke" originates from misspelled Italian words used to describe this plant: girasole articiocco.
Jerusalem artichoke is used in treatment of diabetes in folk medicine.
Jerusalem artichoke is perennial plant (life span: more than 2 years).

Related Links:
Plants Facts
Animals Facts